Skillset is honoured to have received the inaugural Defence Reserves Support Employer Support Award at the 2017 Peak Connect Carillon Business Awards in Bathurst on Saturday night. It is wonderful recognition for the culture of the organisation and the support provided to staff, in this instance our Defence Reserve staff.

Skillset first became a Reserve employer in 2016 when the organisation engaged a new member of the Senior College teaching staff with the full knowledge that this employee was also a serving Army Reserve Commissioned Officer with the local 1st/19th Infantry Battalion.

Immediately upon engagement at Skillset, the employee was released on a 6 month full time military service contract to attend to duties at Rifle Company Butterworth, Malaysia, with nearly 120 other reserve soldiers, including 15 from the Central West.

During this period Skillset Education Manager, Abbey Barrett, alongside the Bathurst Business Chamber Chair Stacey Whittaker, took up the Army invitation to brave military life for a week and visit troops in Malaysia on Operation Boss Lift.

On return to Skillset, their Reserve employee maintained a regular parading routine in the lead up to battalions preparation for its rotation to be ready to provide a heightened degree of response to the nation’s security in 2018. This includes Tuesday nights, weekends and extended exercises. Skillset Managers have extended every support to ensure the employee is granted leave, provided recovery time if necessary and can cut away early from work to attend military training, often at very short notice.

Beyond this, it’s the spirit and overall willingness of the Skillset team to let military planning and habits become a part of the operating procedures and environment within the work place. The team takes a genuine interest in the military activities and also provides wide spread support to cover the employee when he is away with the Army to manage the impact on the work place.

As a hub for young people, Skillset is also mindful of the opportunities that military service can provide vulnerable people who need a break. With this in mind military recruiters have been embraced at the school and a number of students have been targeted and mentored through the recruiting process with the aim of joining the local Battalion and beyond.

We believe Skillset is an excellent example of an employer who supports the Army Reserve, not because we have to, but because we want to.